Grace grew up as an orphan in the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the age of 21 she fled to Rwanda when a war broke out in her region between rebel militia and the national army. She lives today in Kigeme camp and her goal now is to reach out to many children and change their lives for the better through sport.

My Story

“I grew up as an orphan in a village called Masisi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I did not know my father, as he passed away before I was born. My mother died soon after my 4th birthday. I stayed with relatives, then at the age of 21, the war erupted in Masisi. When they attacked our community, we fled to Rwanda to be received at a transit centre then transferred to Kigeme camp, where I live today. In the camp, I am volunteering with Plan International as a community mobilizer working on child protection and prevention of child abuse through community sensitization. As part of our activities, we use sport to raise awareness on various child protection issues and identify some children at risk, to refer them then to the specialised services.

Before joining the sport and SCORT programme, I was living a very lonely life with no clear objective but playing football with children helped me to feel productive and active. What makes me really happy is that children now always come and ask me: “Grace, teach us more games, help us learn, teach us.” When my sessions come to an end, the children don’t want to leave the playground. In general, children used to play football in the camp but there was no coordination, bad organization and no good coaches to teach them and guide them. With the start of the programme, each Young Coach has a group of children to train, a well-organized schedule and timetable to follow which help the children to be more disciplined. Now, there is a clear plan and the young coaches know what to do.

It makes me happy and proud that these children trust me and even the community now know me and parents have confidence in me as they always come to see me training their children. Some of the children have changed their behaviour because of me through the sport activities. They used to face problems and have challenges with their families. During the sport activities, I realized their inner struggles so we started talking together and sharing some thoughts and advices. This has improved their lives.

The SCORT-UNHCR programme helped me to direct my other skills into football and improve my sport and social interaction. My goal now is to reach out to many more children and change their lives for the better through sport.”

Quick Facts
  • Young Coach Education in Rwanda (2017/2018)
  • UNHCR Rwanda
  • Congolese
  • 3 Peer Young Coaches
  • 28 Benefitting Children